Rubber

15

Curiosity is a funny thing. It will make you eat things you wouldn’t normally stick in your mouth, go to places you would never usually be seen dead at, and talk to people you would cross the road to avoid. So if someone told you to see a film about a tyre that goes on a killing spree, you’d probably be intrigued enough to see it, right?

It’s this unique story that has piqued enough curiosity to create a positive buzz around French director Quentin Dupieux’s film Rubber.

In a desert environ, a tyre stirs from the dirt, gets itself upright and starts to make to make a move. Up on a hill, a group has gathered, equipped with binoculars, to watch this particular tyre’s adventure unfold.

It’s not long before the tyre is confronted with other objects, animals and humans; one by one however, it soon becomes clear that woe betide anything – or anyone – that crosses its path, as they’ll get more tyre than they bargained for.

Leaving a bloody trail in its wake, the police are soon aware of its crimes; but stopping this tyre in its tracks is easier said than done .

boom reviews - Rubber image
Golly, I get so confused with these foreign rules. Am I on the right or wrong side of the road?

At the start of Rubber, one of its characters addresses the audience regarding the reason for certain plots and events in films. It’s a curious monologue, but considering what follows, it’s certainly a pertinent line of questioning. In fact how you digest the questions posed will invariably have a bearing on whether you enjoy this film or not. Ultimately, it asks its audience, how far are you willing to suspend belief?

For many, the premise of a killer tyre on a rampage may be a wheel too far. However, if you think about the films you’ve watch previously, the chances are filmmakers have asked you to work just as hard. For instance, Steven Spielberg asked audiences in 1971 to accept that a huge truck could violently stalk a motorist in his film debut Duel. We never see if the truck is actually driven by anyone, so as far as audiences are concerned, the truck is driving itself. He then went on to direct films about a killer shark; an alien that lands on Earth and wants to go back home; and dinosaurs coming back to life. Not a bad career considering. So clearly audiences are prepared to put reality on the back burner for certain directors.

On one level Rubber can be enjoyed as a throwback to Z movies; plots ludicrously silly but overall they still manage to be entertaining, intentionally or not. This film certainly works on that level. The effects are just short of being special, but are still incredibly fun. The acting isn’t exactly Oscar-worthy, but the cast get the job done. So an enjoyable night out (or in, on DVD/Blu-ray) can most definitely be had.

Perhaps it’s the Frenchness of the director (who, as it happens, also goes by the name Mr. Oizo, who was responsible for the number one hit ‘Flat Beat’ in 1999, featuring that silly denim-selling puppet Flat Eric), but there’s a snobby whiff of post modernity about the film. It not only challenges audiences but it also challenges the notion of being an audience. At one point the audience watching the film within the actual film diminish in numbers. This leaves one of the characters with the impression that the film is therefore over. However, it transpires that there is still someone watching. He then faces a dilemma: even if only one person watching, does that mean the show must go on? That’s a lot to get to grips with.

Whatever level you watch it on, Rubber performs exceedingly well. It’s silly, bloody, funny, and yes, slightly up its self if you really want it to be. Besides, what’s not to love about the world’s first tyre slasher film?

four out of five